Monday, November 29, 2010

52 Buttons of Wisdom To Keep Warm For The Holidays

Recently, I stumbled across a list of 52 mistakes. Well, I have certainly made 52 mistakes daily in my life and started my own list. However, my list morphed into buttons of hopeful and helpful tips. Buttons of wisdom, in no particular order. Button up to keep warm for the Winter!

  1. What defines us is how well we rise after falling.
  2. If you do not fail at least three times in life, you are not trying hard enough to succeed.
  3. You can only do the best you can do every day, so stop trying to be what you consider to be "perfect."
  4. The "P" word (Perfect) should be removed from the dictionary and our thinking. Perfect = Pressure.
  5. Your job is what you do, not who you are.
  6. Do not let your salary define you.
  7. We all have a purpose in life. Some small, some large. Find yours.
  8. We all have God given talents. Know yours. If you do not know, have a friend tell you what your talents are. Always remember your God given talents. They may benefit you in life, as they are especially yours and naturally easy for you specifically.
  9. Change is part of life. Accept change and move onto the next challenging change.
  10. Forgive yourself daily, or weekly or whenever you need to.
  11. Some people are addicted to chaos and if they do not have it in their lives, they create it for themselves and those around them. Keep these people at arms length, even if they are family members. Chaos is not good for the soul, your health or well being. Chaos complicates your life and adds to your stress.
  12. Give angry people in person and on the phone 3 minutes to vent, then remove yourself from the situation. This way, you have politely listened, therefore, are done with your obligation.
  13. Sometimes saying nothing is saying something.
  14. If a friend or family member criticizes you in public, do not reply. Just let their negative comment hang out there in the air and resonate with everyone else in the room.
  15. Usually, the first person who speaks, looses.
  16. Sass will bite you in the a** every time. Best to keep the sassy comment to yourself.
  17. Miracles are small, instantaneous, silent. They happen in the blink of an eye, a New York second. 3 black crows squawking on a fence, the thought of a loved one popping into your head, a dragon fly at dusk. Relish the little things in life that bring us joy. Remember the tiny things.
  18. If you had a rough day, did not do so well or behave well, have one glass of wine and go to bed. Get a good night of sleep and you will feel better tomorrow rested and relaxed.
  19. By the time you write down a list, you can just do it!
  20. Know that you can ALWAYS go back to school and learn a new skill. Having a marketable skill will protect you financially during tough times or periods of change. Whether your skill be for your primary job, a second job or hobby around the house, skilled workers are always in demand.
  21. Clean hair beats a new dress any day.
  22. Rely on your good brain always.
  23. It is no longer 1952. You do not need to have the same job for 40 years.
  24. Your first job does not have to be your last job. Never let anyone else make you feel bad about changing jobs.
  25. Most people get fired from one job or another at one time or another for one reason or another. Do not let it get you down. The job just was not right for you. Learn from your experiences. Take an easy part time job until you find a full time job better suited for you.
  26. Always having 6 months rent in the bank will be reassuring to you in times of crisis, change or loss.
  27. Save 10% of everything you earn and are given. Put it in a savings account and tell NO ONE. You will be glad for your savings one day.
  28. Throw your change in a jar or a drawer. Clean it out once or twice a year and spend your saved change on something nice for yourself and/or your family. Go out to dinner or on a weekend vacation or nice cultural day trip. Or use it for fun money on vacation.
  29. Save up some cash by stashing small bills ($1, $5, $10) in purses, shoe boxes, under rugs, inside books,in pockets. Then you will have some cash when you need it for a surprise or an emergency.
  30. If you are blue, volunteer!
  31. Clean out your closet once a year and donate clothing and shoes you have not worn in 5 years.
  32. Success breeds critics and enemies. Some silent, some outright. Chalk it up to envy and forget it.
  33. Do not complain about your situation. Change your situation.
  34. After the age of 25, no one wants to hear about all your problems. Everyone has their own problems and responsibilities by now. Find a productive or creative way to vent. Get a pet, therapist, minister or friend.
  35. As a Host or Hostess for the holidays, you do have duties. Very easy to make a casserole and say "Casserole's in the oven, help yourself. Have a bowl of fruit in the fridge. Have a coffee cake on top of the fridge. Everyone can help themselves.
  36. Have extra blankets, extra pillows and little fans in the linen closet. "White noise" from a fan is great and helps guests in a strange house sleep.
  37. Have little night lights in your halls and bathrooms. Guests need to get to the restroom at night without falling down the stairs.
  38. Have bananas, apples, oranges and pears in a bowl. Healthy snacks and everyone can help themselves.
  39. Put an extension plug here and there so everyone can plug in their cell phones, game boys, i-pods, lap top computers, etc.
  40. Put age appropriate books and movies in each guest room, or next to the couch, so your guests have something to do to relax at night.
  41. Get coffee ready the night before and show early birds how to push the button. We have 2 coffee makers set up for early and late risers.
  42. Try to always make the other person feel special. As a Host or Hostess, appease and please.
  43. Remember what your Mother told you: Do do not discuss politics or religion in public.
  44. To alleviate stress on you as Hostess, set your Thanksgiving/Christmas table the week before everyone arrives. Clean the silver, iron the napkins, set out the salt& pepper, serving pieces and serving bowls and platters. You will be glad you did!
  45. If you clean your silver with silver polish after you wash it, and store it in a dark, dry, cool cabinet, it will keep until the next time you use it.
  46. If someone insults you in public, even a family member in a room full of family, say nothing. Let the negative comment hang out there in the air. Hanging insults make the person who said it look bad and sound ugly. Too bad for them.
  47. Give yourself 10 minutes per day on Facebook to answer messages, browse, then get off.
  48. Give yourself, or your kids 1/2 hour per day to play on their i-pod, i-pad, i-phone, computer game, game boy, etc., then read for 1/2 hour.
  49. Reading (anything and everything) helps us all realize that we are not alone in this world. We realize other people share the same problems: struggle, abuse, money issues, self-confidence, belonging, etc.
  50. Sometimes it is best to pause, look and listen.
  51. Treat yourself to something nice every day: One small bite of candy, one chapter in a good book, a 10 minute walk, a short phone call or e-mail to a friend, a hot bath. Take care to take care of yourself.
  52. You can only control your own behavior. Stop trying to control others' behavior.

Button up and stay warm!

Happy Thanksgiving To All

From my book: "Forget-Me-Not, Forget-Me-Never, Remember The Fun We Had Together."

To Dear Carie:
I wish you health,
I wish you wealth,
I wish you a golden store,
I wish you heaven after death,
... That I can wish you more.
Your schoolmate
Rosa Ashner

A belated Happy Thanksgiving. Hope everyone had some family and/or friends around to celebrate with and some time off from work. We have lots to be thankful for and life is good!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Re-gifting - Please, Just Say No !!

Who wants to receive a gift someone else does not want? Re-gifting is a relatively new talked about trend with twenty and thirty-somethings. It must have grown out of our Reality Show and Red Carpet culture of excess and greed of late. Re-gifting is dishonest, lazy, heartless and the gift never seems to be quite right, n'est-ce pas? Yet, everyone is re-gifting and talking about doing it!
Recipients are smart, sophisticated and can smell subterfuge. If ever found out, and the truth always comes out, re-gifting can ruin a friendship and familial ties, not to mention your bosses opinion of you.
Worn boxes and old tape. A calling card hidden in the old tissue paper from the last time the unwanted gift was recycled. A numbered tag left on a wedding present from the last organizational bridal gift kit. A custom made, hand needle pointed purse left on a closet door re-gifted from a different cousin with the well known dog's name and dog's likeness in the design of the purse discovered by the original gift giver during a random house tour. The horror stories go on and on, and are stories of woe from intelligent, professional people who think they can beat the system and somehow fool all of the people all of the time.
Gifts, by tradition, are NOT obligatory. They are by nature given freely from the heart in good conscience without expecting anything in return. Giving someone else a gift you do not want with a big smile on your face signifies to those in the know, or those who will find out, that you do not care enough about the recipient to put any time or thought (never mind money) into a present for them.
Gift giving should be from the heart, so have a heart! If you are short on cash money, make a hand made card and bake something yummy to signify your care and love.
Celebrate what is actually important in life: friends and family. Give your unwanted gifts to charity and the truly needy.

Re-gifting...just say NO !!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Lemons, Dishwashers and Pitting

Did you know:
  1. One does not have to squeeze the lemon when one orders iced tea or any other drink that has either a lemon or lime on the rim of the glass. Just plunk the citrus into your beverage and it will dissipate and disperse into the liquid. No squeezing or citrus in your eye!
  2. Lemon detergent is for pots and pans only. Lemon is acidic and will, over time, eat the glaze off of your china and crystal, especially fine china and crystal with a gold rim.
  3. Washing sterling silver flatware in the dishwasher is fine as long as you do not mix it with stainless flatware or stainless pots and pans. It is a metallurgy thing. Silver and stainless as metals do not like each other and the stainless will pit out your sterling.
  4. Mixing sterling with stainless will force the base metal to come through the sterling. Then, you will be stuck rubbing the sterling with jewelers rouge to get rid of all those little black spots on your sterling called pitting.
  5. To get any pit out of sterling, drop lighter fluid onto the rouge and wipe the rouge stick with a soft cloth. Then rubbing always in the same direction, rub the cloth onto the sterling. Never rub in circles. With much elbow grease, the pit will eventually disappear.
  6. NEVER use jewelers rouge on silver plate. It will remove the plate. Sterling is usually 92.5 parts silver, while silver plate has only 10 microns of silver on top of the base metal. Antique silver has a heavy base metal of usually copper or nickel. New silver plate now has a light base metal of tin.
  7. Shocking fact: Yes! You may wash your antique china and antique crystal in the dishwasher. The following are a few rules you must follow for fine china and every day kitchen china, fine crystal and everyday glassware:
  • Never use lemon detergent on anything other than your pots and pans. Use plain detergent only. It is hard to find in the supermarket, but look for it!
  • Use only 1 teaspoon of the granular, plain detergent. Do not use those detergent tabs, they are contain a separate chemical "Jet dry" substance and are inconsistent and uneven.
  • Never use the heat cycle. It is too hot and the heat is bad for your porous china and will weaken it over time. It also will actually melt any gold rims.
  • Always use the "Air Dry" cycle.
  • Always use the "Gentle" cycle.
  • Load and unload your china and crystal evenly and nicely. Space is the place. Do no jam or overload your dishwasher. If you have to run more than a few loads, do so. Items often shift in cycle. Avoid breakage.
Be kind to your fine china, crystal and silverware and it will last a few lifetimes!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

True Prep Book Review - "n/a" Not Applicable

To be a "True Prep" or not to be... this is neither the question nor the answer. As a matter of fact, Prep is "n/a", no longer applicable. Society is a smaller place as we have grown into an international world, not a "New Old World." This hardback novel is just not as novel as the first trade paperback.

Of course, original preps still have a few L.L. Bean pieces in their wardrobes, the pearls, whale cords in the closet and the "Wellies," but since the first book 25 years ago, good fashion has evolved into haute couture designers at a deep discount with new stores like H&M and Target carrying this classic fashion. Faux and discounted Armani, Chanel, Heremes and Louis Vuitton are all now available on the Internet.

Dotted with buttons of wisdom by Edith Wharton throughout the book, Lisa Birnbach gave the impression she just wants to be THE "Etiquette Lady." She also gave the impression in her video that only preppies know their etiquette, thus, are the only group of persons with manners. To my students, I always say "One does not have to have money to have manners."

Regarding the vantage point for her information collected for this book, it took Ms. Birnbach until page 72 to mention the South. She spoke cleaverly about FFV's (First Families of Virginia) and King James I, but then she proclaimed Middleburg, Virginia, as the mecca of the Southern "gay horsie crowd." Pardon me? She thinks Middleburg is the South? Also, because it is a different world, 25 years later, in trying to be all inclusive and all politically correct, Lisa Birnbach comes across as all proliferating stereotypes.

Ms. Birnbach did mention Hamden-Sydney College as "The Preppiest college in the United States." Her travel tip section and frugal "Do's and Don'ts" were funny, as were the few tried and true photos with maps and descriptions of why, what and how things are in the preppie world. Nice to know sometimes, some things never change. However, the catalogue of her "Prep Pantheon," was something out of 1952 and the people were 99 percent North Easterners.

In 2010, the "True Prep" lifestyle of the private boarding school, Junior year of High School in Switzerland, college with the Junior year abroad, then a societal debut at the exclusive country club no longer posesses the same 'Tra la la' allure it once posessed. "True Prep" neither guarantees happiness in life nor success in the real world.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Silver Spoons, Champagne and Patina

Born with a sterling silver spoon in your mouth? Have any sterling silver spoons in your sideboard from your wedding or inherited from your grandmother? The following are tips to help you maintain your sterling silver and other uses for spoons!

  • Placing a sterling silver spoon in your mouth while chopping an onion will alleviate the stinging and tears from your eyes.
  • Placing any spoon (sterling or stainless) into a cold open champagne bottle will keep the bubbles from evaporating, and keeps your champagne fresh!
  • Sterling silver ONLY (never silver plate) cleaned with jewelers' rouge and lighter fluid resists tarnish and finger-marks longer than any other method. Be sure to lightly rub the cloth in the same linear direction. Never rub in circles. Do not EVER clean silver plate using this method as it will remove the silver plate.
  • Silver wrapped in linen, then in newspaper kept in a clean, dry, cool cabinet will keep well.
  • Salt will quickly tarnish silver. For salt stains, rub sterling silver with damp salt.
  • Lemon and seafood will also quickly tarnish silver.
  • One may wash sterling silver in the dishwasher if a few rules are obeyed. Only use plain detergent and only use one teaspoon of detergent. Never use lemon detergent with sterling silver as the acid from the lemon will tarnish and may pit out the sterling silver. Do not place antique sterling silver knives made before about 1880 in the dishwasher as they may have plaster inside the sterling handles, thus may explode in the dishwasher. Always test one knife first before washing all other knives just in case!
  • Lemon detergent is bad for china and crystal as well. It removes the clear glaze over time. Lemon detergent is great for pots and pans only!
  • Do not place sterling silver in the same dish cycle with stainless. The two metals do not like each other and you risk pitting out the sterling silver.
  • Use the dishwasher's "Gentle" cycle and "Air Dry" cycle only. NEVER use the "Heat" cycle. It is too hot and is bad for your sterling flat silver, fine china and crystal too.
  • A little olive oil rubbed over silver before it is put away will prevent it from becoming tarnished. When ready for use, wash it warm soapy water and dry thoroughly.
  • Use your sterling every day, wash it in the dishwasher and you will only have to clean it about once a year!
  • Tarnished silver can be quickly cleaned with a cloth sprinkled with bicarbonate of soda.
  • Purists (like myself) adore sterling with its Patina giving it a luster found only with age. Buffing off the Patina will not only remove its Patina but will remove valuable microns of silver.

Enjoy your old sterling new!

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Tintinnabulation of Telling The Truth

Can't you just hear the sound of your Mother's voice ringing in your ears to: "Tell the truth." As a child and young person, this practice is preferable as you are under your parents' care and roof.

As a young person, you may see your Mother smile and hear her say hello and continue polite small talk with a woman at the supermarket you know she dislikes. Your Mother tells you this is OK as she does not want to hurt this woman's feelings or have this woman realize she is not liked. You also notice your Uncle Chester says he feels fine when you know he has been sick lately. Your Mother tells you this is OK too as Uncle Chester does not want anyone to know he has been feeling poorly.

Then, you grow up. So, then what? OK, lets recap: Tell the truth but never make anyone else feel bad, embarrass them or let them know your true feelings if it will hurt their feelings. Wait a minute, what about the truth? What happened to telling the truth? Truly, what is the truth?

To help you decipher the truth here are some famous and not so famous quotes:

  • "If you tell the truth you don't have to remember anything." - Mark Twain
  • You never find yourself until you face the truth." - Pearl Bailey
  • Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth." - Albert Einstein
  • The truth is rarely pure and never simple." - Oscar Wilde
  • "The truth shall make you free." - Jesus, The Bible, John 8:32
  • "Love truth, and pardon error." - Voltaire
  • "I'd rather be hated for who I am than loved for who I am not." - Kurt Cobain
  • "To thine own self be true." - Shakespeare
  • "Half of a comment spoken in jest is thought to be a truth by the speaker." - unknown
  • "Telling the truth does not make it the right answer."- Katherine Barrett Baker

So, be true to yourself without making anyone else feel bad. It is the greatest balancing act ever and forever on end. If you can accomplish this feat every day, you will probably become a diplomat. What is the definition of a diplomat? One of the definitions of a diplomat is: "Doing nothing and saying nothing nicely." Ruugh we go again!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

11 Life Rules For Teenagers (And Some Adults)

Last night I read: "11 rules your kids did not and will not learn in school" from a speech by Bill Gates. I liked it so much, I am going to incorporate it into our curriculum and thought I'd reproduce it here as follows:
  1. Life is not fair - get used to it.
  2. The world doesn't care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.
  3. You will not make $60,000 a year right out of High School. You won't be a Vice-President with a car phone until you earn both.
  4. If you think your teacher is tough, wait until you get a boss.
  5. Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping: they called it opportunity.
  6. If you mess up, it's not your parents' fault, so don't whine about your mistakes, learn from them.
  7. Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to how cool you thought you were. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parents generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.
  8. Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and they'll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.
  9. Life is not divided into semesters . You don't get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do that on your own time.
  10. Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.
  11. Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one.
The following are our updated interpretation of the "11 Life Rules" from The Sabot School of Etiquette:
  1. Life is not fair. Acknowledge this fact, and move on.
  2. The professional working world does not care about your self-esteem. You will be expected to perform and produce at work every day regardless of your self-esteem or health.
  3. Chances are you will not make $150,000.00 per year EVER with only a High School degree. Acquiring a marketable skill in today's professional working world is paramount before you will ever earn a vice-presidency, have three cell phones, or a designer car.
  4. If you think your teacher is tough, just wait until you get a boss. The boss is not your friend and does not have your best interest at heart. The boss thinks you want his/her job. The boss can be jealous of you, especially if you are a competent and hard worker. The boss has all the power.
  5. Flipping burgers or mucking out horse stalls is not beneath your dignity. Your Great-Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping and mucking: they called it opportunity and an honest day of work.
  6. If you make mistakes, and make no mistake about it, you will make mistakes, DO NOT whine about it at work or to your friends or family. NO ONE out of school or over the age of about 21 wants to hear about all of your problems. They have their own problems. Learn from your mistakes. Try not to make the same mistakes twice. Change your behavior to change the outcome.
  7. Before you came along, your parents were young, just like you are now. You may think they are boring and clueless, however, they have been responsible for your food, room & board, doctor bills, social activities, laundry AND they have been listening to your guff for more than a decade. So, before you worry about saving the planet from the wrath of generations before you, first try cleaning out your closet in your own room.
  8. Your school may give every member of the sports team a trophy and give you a second and a third chance at passing an exam, but this practice has nothing to do with life outside of school. You may glide through school not paying much attention to anything and this is fine for school, but once out of school, there is no gliding through life. You cannot glide through paying the rent or mortgage, your job, your marriage, or raising children. In the real world, there are few second chances at anything (for example: first impressions, job interviews, first dates, deadlines, etc.).
  9. Life is not school. You do not get summers off from life to go "find yourself." Do that on your own precious time off IF you get any time off. Better still to have found yourself while still in school.
  10. Television and movies are NOT real life. There is no Red Carpet, (and even if you do end up on a Red Carpet, no one will take your picture).* In real life, people have to leave the coffee shop and go back to work.
  11. Leaders always make others feel special. It ends up being a VERY small world. Be nice to everyone, and especially nerds. You may most likely end up working for one or married to one. Also, you can always tell where someone has been and where someone is going by how they treat the waiter, the taxi driver, their stock broker and their margin clerk, the clerk at the courthouse, the clerk at the retail store and the cashier at the fast food place. Just ask Martha Stewart. **

* While working for a designer in New York, I found myself exiting a limousine, and walking a red carpet in a Haute Couture designer dress, but it never occurred to me the carpet was a "Red Carpet" as my presence was work related. Years later, thinking about it, I remembered the carpet was indeed red, the photographers were waiting but no one took my picture.

** According to quite a few sources in New York, Martha Stewart was rude and mean to EVERYONE. So, when she allegedly broke the law, the powers at be and the underlings around her delighted themselves in making an example out of her. They told what she did, convicted her and sent her to jail.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Cayuga Lake Girls Celebrate The End Of Summer, 1905

From my book: "Forget-Me-Not, Forget-Me-Never, Remember The Fun We Had Together"
Since the year 1905,
There's been on Cayuga shores,
A jolly bunch of happy girls,
Who are able to use the oars,
The object is to have some fun,
In the very best kind of way,
From early morn 'till setting sun,
They dance the livelong day !
Happy Labor Day!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Napkin Etiquette - Going To A Labor Day BBQ Over The Holiday?

Ever been to a BBQ or Crab Picking at the beach or river where the paper napkins are all covered in butter and sauce and all balled up in a big mess? Then to add insult to injury, gross out icky napkins all balled up placed on the picnic tables while the rest of us are still eating. Yuck!

Yes, BBQ and Crab Pickings are messy, but do you have to be a gooey mess too? No. It takes a bit of labor, but try to treat your paper napkin like a cloth napkin. Use a few napkins and fold them like a cloth napkin. Do not ball them up then place them on top of your paper plate or on top of the table while others are still eating.

If you have made a mess, clean it up, pick it up, then get up from the table and throw away your napkins and plate. You might even ask if anyone wants another iced tea! Return to the table to finish your tea and chat! The persons whom are still eating will appreciate your effort and will enjoy their meal more.

Merci beaucoup! Enjoy the Labor Day Holiday!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

20 Years of 20 Questins: Top 10 Dating Tips For Gals

Perusing the SATC2 Website the other day, psychologist and author Pamela Diane King has posted excerpts from her e-book:"10 Dating Lessons From SATC" (the series) and they are as follows:
  1. Stalking is not sexy.

  2. Technology is not your friend.

  3. Throw away your "Perfect Man" list.

  4. Drama does not equal passion.

  5. Taking a "break" is "guy code" for a break up.

  6. Know when to let go.

  7. Love can be an addiction.

  8. Taking a vacation is the best break up remedy.

  9. Love is a roller coaster.

  10. The most important relationship you have is with yourself.

After 20 years of 20 questions myself, I thought I would reply to her top ten and post my version:

  1. If you are "stalking" someone else, whether in cyberspace or in person, you need to step back, acknowledge your own OCD behavior and move on. Join a gym, a choir at church, take a night class or any other activity to get out more. If someone else is stalking you or sleeping on your doorstep, you need to call the cops and form a working relationship with a police detective.

  2. A beau may forgive you for what you have said but you can NEVER unwrite what has been written. Paper letters can be kept and may be shown around, but any negative comment or breaking up with a beau on the Internet sites like Facebook or an E-mail is seen by all and can be sent to everyone instantly, including future employers. Public writing is absolutely powerful and can corrupt absolutely and forever more.

  3. The word 'Perfect" is unattainable, unrealistic in every sense and should be stricken from the dictionary. The boundaries and behaviors of love include acceptance, forgiveness and what is a 'deal breaker' in your book.

  4. Drama, drama, drama. Drama should be left up on center stage. Some people are addicted to drama and chaos. Manic behavior and chaos are their best friend. They don't know how to live without it and if they do not have it in their lives constantly, they will create it for themselves (and you). This dramatic behavior is also called manic/depressive or bi-polar disorder. All I can say is: RUN. Don't look back. Don't have any regrets, ever. You are much better getting OFF this particular roller coaster.

  5. If your beau ever asks you for a "break" from your relationship, you "man up" and break up with him right then and there. What a wuss. Plenty of guys out there. Date a MAN.

  6. Know what your "deal breakers" are and stick to them to protect yourself. Sometimes guys behave badly so you will break up with them so they do not have to break up with you. Pay attention to these behaviors. Know when enough is enough.

  7. Being in love should not be an addiction. The novelty and newness of falling in love can be an addiction. For example: Elizabeth Taylor, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Mickey Rooney.

  8. Vacations are great but not by yourself or when you are feeling blue. Put half of your vacation money in a savings account for yourself, grieve, then when feeling better, treat yourself to a nice lunch somewhere lovely, go shopping and spend half the money on a classic, beautiful accessory you will keep for the rest of your life. For example: a designer purse or scarf, a leather wallet, a well fitting quality leather skirt, pants, boots or belt. A mink scarf or hat. A pair of pearl earrings. Breaking up is a bit like a death. Be kind to yourself every day and treat yourself to little things like a long bath or walk or good book or movie, for a while until you feel better.

  9. Dating is a roller coaster. Love should not be a roller coaster. Love is hard work, kindness, forgiveness, patience and compromise.

  10. The most important relationship you will ever have IS with yourself. If you do not like yourself and hide from yourself, you will not be happy and no one else will be happy with you either. Why should they be?

Be good to yourself, know your own top 10 tips and enjoy dating!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

How Many Habitual Electronic Friends Do You Have and How Much Stress Is In Your Home?

How many TVs, computers, I-Pods, I-Pads, X-Boxes, Guitar Heros, Guitar Bands, DVD players, CD players, Stereos, Radios and Weather Radios do you have in your home? How many of each are on simultaneously and all the time?

How many times per week, on average, does your family eat at the table? Any table. Dining room table, Kitchen table, Coffee table or TV trays in the Family room?

Here's how to take the stress out of your home and simplify your family life quickly. Turn all the previously mentioned gadgets OFF. Sit at the table and all eat dinner. Each person take an uninterrupted turn at talking about the favorite moment of your day. It does not really matter what y'all talk about, as long as it is relatively positive and y'all are all together.

After dinner, everyone go on a walk outside. If it is raining or freezing outside, go into a different room and all eat dessert together. If y'all do not eat sweets, have some decaffeinated coffee, fruit and cheese.

After dessert, meet in the den or living room and play cards, a game, or do a puzzle together and pick one person to read aloud from a book to everyone. Any book, but preferably one of the classics that is fitting and age appropriate. Charles Dickens, Emily Dickinson, Keats, Shakespeare, Art, Art History, any History, any Biography.

Reading is freeing. Reading tells us that others have similar or the same daily struggles no matter how hard or particular our own struggles may seem.

Getting fed up with life sometimes and our own common struggles is easy. Turning OFF our electronic companions may be hard especially when they are always on and there are so many of these habitual "friends" around.

So, TURN ALL ELECTRONICS OFF and be with yourself or your family quietly and be rid of the electronic distractions and stress!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Eye Contact Etiquette Tips - Pause, Look and Listen

The eyes ...little mirrors to the soul...les yeux. Do you have problems with eye contact? Are you shy? Sometimes timid? What about traveling to foreign countries? What are their social and business customs regarding eye contact?

The following are a few tips to help you look others straight in the eyes when needed for introductions and business meetings:
  • The next time you have an introduction, try looking at the spot right in between the other person's eyebrows.
  • Americans believe clear, strong eye contact is important during conversation. Direct eye contact is a silent signal signifying attention and honesty. Averting eye contact or looking away during conversation implies dishonesty or lack of interest and it is considered to be distracting or rude to the person whom is speaking.
  • The British do make eye contact but at an angle rather than directly.
  • In many Latin countries direct eye contact is considered to be an aggressive gesture.
  • In many Asian countries, children when bad, are punished by either parent staring at them for extended periods of time.
  • In South Korea, making eye contact is important in business. It shows sincerity and forms a subtle, but significant bond between individuals.
  • In Thailand, eye contact is used to facilitate a need. For example, to summon a waiter, all you must do is to catch their eye, and raise your eyebrows to get immediate service.
  • Middle Easterners look long and deeply into each person's eyes to search their souls and determine from the dilation of the pupils the other person's interest.

So, for your next introduction, pause, look and listen!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Greetings and Pucker Up!

Greetings all!!

Where I live out in the country, kisses and the fields are not fancy, kisses are quick like chickens and the fields are filled with horses. The social set out here kisses once and mostly on the side of the cheek. Sometimes there is a quick hug as we are a small community. Guys or gals, married or not, kisses are all fairly fast and a generic chicken peck.

In some chic US cities, such as Palm Beach, New York, San Francisco, Chicago and Los Angeles, social sets do the double air kiss on each cheek like in France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, and most other Mediterranean countries. Again, gals or guys, married or not, it is all two quick and harmless set of pecks.

In Latino countries, kisses are seen as well as the abrazo ; friends hug and pat each other on the back.

In the Middle East, men may air kiss on both cheeks and even hug, and women may air kiss also on both cheeks, but never with the opposite sex. Opposite sexes never touch each other, ever. Not even a hand shake. Orthodox Jews also avoid all body contact with opposite sexes.

In Asia, body contact is avoided always, and eye contact should be brief. Americans, best to keep your hands down at your sides, nod your head and say "Hello." Some Asian business people have adapted to the Western handshake, but best to wait for their cues.

Persons from India and some in Buddhist Asia use the namaste gesture, (palms together under the chin then a slight nod of the head), for greetings and goodbyes as a sign of respect.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

International Handshaking Hints

Traveling on vacation a bit more this summer for the Labor Day holiday? Junior year in College abroad? Business meetings overseas? Take a minute to read a few tips on international handshaking:

  • USA: Firm, solid grip with 2-3 strokes
  • France: Light grip and 1 brisk stroke
  • Germany: Firm grip and 1 stroke
  • Latin Cultures: Light grip and linger 2x as long as USA handshake
  • Middle East: Limp and lingering grip only. Never a stroke.
  • Russia: Firm grip and 1 stroke
  • Japan: Light grip, 3-4 gentle strokes
  • Australia: Firm grip and 2 strokes

Travel safely and smart. Enjoy!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Key To The Place Setting Universe

The key to the place setting universe is:

Work Your Way From The Outside, In

Simple, really!

Life does not have to be complicated and you do not have to be intimidated!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Finger Bowl Follies, Foibles and Faux-Pas...Who Cares?

Old and high fashioned, out of date, too formal and fancy, stuffy Victorian accoutrement! When in the world would one ever see, much less use a finger bowl? Who cares? I'll tell you who cares: Those In The Know.

Yes. I have at my finger tips an entire plethora of finger biting, finger bowl faux-pas stories involving very well educated, very well paid professionals, and high society players .

One story involves one lawyer at his own Junior Partner dinner celebration. Beautifully educated at a private school, a prestigious university and a paramount law school, he drank his finger bowl in front of his peers and Senior Partners. Not wanting to embarrass him then, Those In The Know quietly drank their finger bowls as well. The perennial problem began Monday morning around the water cooler when this Junior Partner's reputation became company folklore, forever pegging him as "the dude who drank his finger bowl." Those in the Know thought to themselves: "If he missed the finger bowl etiquette, what else did he miss?" The story of this finger bowl faux-pas also permeated company walls and got around town. Needless to say, this lawyer has never made Senior Partner. Who cares? You should!

Maybe you will only see one finger bowl in your entire lifetime, at an important company dinner, or paramount social gathering, or on your Honeymoon. I guarantee, you will want to know how to recognize the finger bowl, its variations, and how to manipulate your finger bowl. You do not want to embarrass yourself at what will likely be a most important night in your professional or personal life.

Alright, so maybe you know enough not to drink it because it may have one half slice of lemon, lime or a sprig of a green garnish in it, and you know how to use it, but do you know enough about what to do with a doily or where to place your finger bowl when done, or what to do when the finger bowl is served on top of a dessert plate instead of its own stand? What if it is also served with a dessert fork and dessert spoon? What to do?

The following are a few tips to help avoid fumbling with your finger bowl:

When using your finger bowl, daintily dab the tips of your fingers, one hand at a time, into the warm water, then slowly place each hand in your napkin to dry.

Sometimes, finger bowls are served with their own "stands" (plate), which makes for easy manipulation.

  • Lift the entire bowl and stand with BOTH hands and place it to the upper left of your plate when done.

Sometimes, finger bowls are served with a paper or lace & linen doily on top of the dessert plate.

Sometimes, the dessert fork and dessert spoon also are placed on top of the doily on top of the dessert plate.

  • First, "place" your dessert fork and spoon onto your place setting in front of you at the table. The dessert fork is placed to the left and your dessert spoon to the right of your dessert plate.
  • Second, use the finger bowl.
  • Third, when done with the finger bowl, be sure to remove the doily AND bowl with BOTH hands and place it to the upper left of your dessert plate. This way, the waiter can place your dessert onto your dessert plate directly, and does not have to place your silverware for you, or move your doily out of the way.

Always use both hands when moving the finger bowl, no matter how small. Yes, I have many stories about spilled finger bowls all over the table after one has had one's hands in the water...yuck!

Yes, I also have a story about a wealthy male suitor during the 1950's at THE fancy lunch of the intended fiance's Victorian parents. The wealthy suitor certainly knew what a finger bowl was, but did not know to remove the lovely linen doily on top of his dessert plate. The butler stood at his side with dessert in hand in silence for a minute until the suitor finally figured out he needed to also remove his doily....then the thought of what to do with the lovely linen doily flashed through his head as the finger bowl has already been placed. Doily dilemma! The wealthy suitor finally placed the doily quickly in his lap, thanked the butler, tasted the chocolate dessert, then quickly complimented the host and hostess, his future In-Laws. They must have liked him very much. Doily disaster dashed! Phew!

Yes, who cares about the Victorians or the 1950's? Who cares about removing your doily or placing your dessert spoon yourself ? Who cares about the etiquette of finger bowls? Those In The Know care!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Calling Card Usage In The Military, In Diplomatic Circles, With Butlers & On Sterling Salvers

Y'all have all seen the old movies as the butler in formal dress stiffly walks into the library and presents the gentleman or lady of the house with a calling card on a tiny silver tray.

Possibly you have received a wedding gift or flowers with a calling card inside and the formal name of the gift giver has one fine pen line through it and the informal name written below. The sender traditionally writes in pencil if the gift is delivered in person, and fine pen if the gift is mailed or delivered by messenger.

Maybe you have also seen these calling cards attached to the flowers on top of the coffin of an international figure in death, such as Princess Diana.

Calling cards serve other purposes in addition to merely a call. Most often today, we see them enclosed inside wedding presents, flowers, birthday and anniversary gifts, graduation gifts and condolences. Did you also know Calling cards may be sent with letters of introduction and may be sent with acceptances or regrets for informal (but never formal) social events.

Brief messages may be written on calling cards. For example, most often, one sees a message such as: "For a lifetime of happiness" or "Best Wishes" written on a calling card for a wedding. Messages written on calling cards are also still traditionally used in military and diplomatic circles to convey the appropriate message in French.

Most High School Seniors order their first box of calling cards and send them out with their graduation announcements.

A "salver" is a small tray on which calling cards, letters, cards or refreshments are placed for handing to people. Most often today, salvers are seen at auction houses or antique stores, and are usually sterling silver, nickle silver or another metal. The salver may have the family crest or monogram engraved on the face of the tray.

The following list are abbreviations used to convey traditional messages in French:

  • p.p. (pour presenter) - To present, to introduce. Used only on the card of a senior officer accompanying the card of the subordinate.
  • p.f. (pour feliciter) - To congratulate. Used for national holidays and other special occasions.
  • p.c. (pour condoler) - To condole. To express sympathy. Used at the death of a national figure.
  • p.r. (pour remercier) - To thank. Thanks for a gift, courtesy received, a congratulations. Can also be sent in response to "p.f." and "p.c." messages.
  • p.p.c. (pour prendre conge) - To say good-bye or take leave. Indicates one is leaving town.
  • p.f.n.a. (pour faire nouvel an) - Happy New Year. To extend greetings at the new year.
  • p.m. (pour memoire) - To remind.

If the corner of the calling card is turned in, this indicates the following:

  • Upper Left-hand corner - A Visit.
  • Upper Right-hand corner - A Congratulations.
  • Lower Left-hand corner - Taking leave.
  • Lower Right-hand corner - A Condolence.

Voila! Now you are one of those in the know.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Service a la Francaise, a la Russe & a l'Anglaise, and Service American Style

With daily life as casual as it is today, it still helps to know the Forms Of Service you may encounter at a wedding, company function, family celebration, Christmas party, vacation, or maybe you will one day get an invitation to the White House!

The following are 4 Forms Of Service to be aware of and familiar with for formal occasions:

  1. Service a la Francaise: the server presents the arranged platter to the female guests first, from the left. After all the ladies have served themselves from the platter, the server moves to serve all the gentlemen also from the left, and they serve themselves from the platter. Service a la Francaise is considered to be the most formal of all services, and is customary at formal dinners in Europe and in America.
  2. Service a la Anglaise: the server presents the platter from the left to the guest and serves the guest. Ladies first, of course. Service a l'anglaise is used for banquets because the server controls the portions and can limit the portions served to the guest.
  3. Service a la Russe: The famous chef, Urban DuBois, popularized this service back in the 1860's. Originally, the chef decorated each dish on a fancy platter and a line of servers each with a platter in their arms up above their heads parade around the Dining Room table, showing the guests their creations, then return into the kitchen to carve the meat, fish, poultry, game or other dishes. Then, they return to the table to serve the dish to the guests, ladies first, of course. Today, this service is commonly used in upscale restaurants worldwide. Service a la Russe includes a small serving table, called a gueridon (pedestal table), equipped with a side burner, or rechaud (portable stove). The server rolls the gueridon to the table, cooks and carves the dish and serves the guests. Ladies first again, of course.
  4. Service American Style: The server places the food directly onto the plate of the guest either at the table, or in a buffet line. This service has the advantage of being fast and uncomplicated. It does not require professional service.

So, now you know! Pay attention the next time you are out and about and try to guess which Form Of Service you receive!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Dine Like A Diplomat: Sending Silent Signals With Silverware and Napkins

Did you know when dining, you may send the wait staff silent signals regarding the progress of your meal.

Silent signals include placing your silverware in the "I am resting" and "I am finished" positions.

When dining Continental style, and resting, place your silverware in an upside down "V" position with the tips of your knife and fork in the center of the plate and the handles in the 40/20 position, (like a clock). When dining American Style and resting, place your knife on the right top edge of your plate and the fork in the center of your plate in the 10/20 position, (like a clock). When dining Asian Style, place your chopsticks on the chopstick rest.

When finished with the meal and dining Continental Style, or American Style, place your knife above your fork, blade always toward you, in the center of the plate in the 10/20 position, (like a clock). Dining in the Continental Style, your fork tines will be facing down toward the plate. Dining in the American Style, your tines will be facing up. When dining in Asian style and finished, place your chopsticks also in the center of your plate in the 10/20 position.

Be sure to always have the blade of the knife facing you. Never have the blade of the knife facing anyone else and never point your chopsticks at anyone. Dangerous and considered in the Asian culture to be bad luck.

When leaving the table briefly, a silent signal may also be sent to the wait staff with your napkin by placing your napkin on your chair signaling to the waiter "I will return, do not remove my plate."

Now, all you may have to worry about is the wait staff knowing the correct silent signals!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

7 Helpful Household Tips - Onions, Celery, Lemons and Potatoes

The following are cleaver tips for the home using everyday produce and products:

  1. To Remove Onion Smell From Your Hands: rub your hands with celery. Ta da!

  2. To Remove Seafood Smell From Your Hands: rub your hands with lemon. Voila!

  3. To Restore a worn Emery board, try putting it in a warm oven for a few minutes. This process will dry it right out and crisp it up! Wahoo!

  4. To stop hiccoughs, take a lump of sugar saturated in vinegar or swallow 2 teaspoons of sugar. Hic!

  5. To prevent grease from sputtering when frying bacon, or other meats and fish, place a piece of bread in the frying pan. The bread will prevent the grease from splattering you and will make stove top clean up easier and faster. Yeah!

  6. For drawers that squeak or rub because the fit is not quite right or tight, rub a bar of soap on the rungs and along the upper edges of the drawer. The drawers will now run smoothly and the soap will help prevent moths.

  7. All vegetables grown above ground should be boiled with the lid off the saucepan and all vegetables grown below ground, with the lid on.

Try these tips and enjoy!

Friday, July 9, 2010

LTTE Regarding T & C Social Graces: "Watch Your Back"

Dear Etiquette Editor:
In the 1960's, my family and I were Yankee transplants into a unique old Southern society of First Families of Virginia who trace their roots back 13 generations to Robert (King) Carter, Mary Randolph and are all cousins.
I was unfairly and relentlessly picked on, badgered and bullied at an Episcopalian girl's school for no other reason than our family did not fit the mold.
We say we teach tolerance but do we practice it daily? Some watch mean Reality TV and laugh at others' follies. With 24 hour Cable news, we learn, from the producers who want ratings, it is an 'either/or' world. We also learn that if one yells over the other person, one wins the conversation, but maybe not the debate as the talking head always cuts to a "hard break."
Technically, we are connected globally yet we remain an ethnocentric society. The #1 rule I teach is: "Leaders always make others feel special." Watch the old black & white movies. Read older books. The "Greatest Generation" went to great lengths to never embarrass another person. They were at the very least civil to each other in public.
With changing times comes good and bad consequences. Different consequences. Because of our more crowded and more dangerous world we live in today, children must have supervised activities. They all have cell phones. They are savvy in ways we parents never were, yet, they are still kids. Parents need to be present and proactive when it comes to their children. Proactive while promoting polite behavior and self-sufficiency.
I was in my 40's before I figured out life on the social fringe rather than inside the social fishbowl was much more fun and fulfilling. Hopefully, each child today will move on from the bullying and learn as they grow to find their own mold. Tomato aspic or green Jell-O?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Are You a Good House Guest? Did You Do Your Duties?

Do you think you were a great house guest this past July 4th weekend? Did you just sit around and let your hosts wait on you hand and foot? Do you think you will be invited back next year? Did you know that guests have duties? The following is a full proof check list of tips to insure another invitation next year:

  • Always give a thoughtful, well thought out gift. Make the time to pick out a gift that reflects your host. Some ideas are: liquor or wine, a set of summer drink glasses, a festive serving tray, homemade banana bread for breakfast, antique linen hand towels for the guest bathroom, coffee, a coffee table book all can enjoy, homemade cake or pie for dessert or a few of these gifts! You can also treat the hosts to dinner out at a local restaurant of their choosing.

  • Never give a "re-gift." Re-gifting is risky for many reasons. These gifts are never quite right because re-gifting is dishonest. The recipient can always spot a re-gift and a re-gift conveys to the recipient that you did not want to make the time to pick out something special.

  • Always make your bed. Keep your room neat. No one wants to have the house guest who lives like a pig.

  • Don't offer, just take your plate and others' to the sink after a meal and start doing the dishes.

  • Do be considerate about your house habits. Mind your feet on furniture, late night antics, early morning noise, texting, TV clicker hogging, etc.

  • If you are of age, Do Not drink too much. No one wants to be around a drunk house guest who will then be hungover the next morning.

  • Do be pleasant and present.

  • Do not talk about politics or religion. Your Mother was right!

  • Do use your magic words, as corny as it may sound, and thank your hosts many times over!

Guests do have duties. Just make sure to help out in general and enjoy your visit!

20 Years of 20 Questions: Single In The City. Wondering What Went Wrong On Your Date

Twenty years ago, one of my roommates set me up with her fiancees friend from Boston for a formal evening. The Virginia Council of Colleges Black Tie dance at The Roosevelt Hotel in the heart of old New York City. I was excited for us all to go out on this quadruple date together. Group dating is usually low pressure as there are always other people talking and lots of action.
The only Black Tie dress I owned was, of course, my Adolfo black velvet short dress with the tulle skirt, since I worked for the designer. I wore that dress for 20 years over and over again. It was my bellwether dress. If it go too tight, I quit eating. I could not afford to buy a new formal dress. This beautiful dress, I knew, was always right.
My date was very good looking and had on a handsome tuxedo. He seemed so nice and smiled, but with his lips closed. He did not have anything to say so, I opened a conversation telling him I had never been to Boston but was reading a book about the history of the oldest and most famous family in Boston, the Cabot family. The book was specific to the rules of etiquette the Cabot family set for Boston society 100 years ago that still apply today. Alright, it was one sentence too much, but usually people love talking about their cities and famous families. No response. Nada. Nothing.
The little voices in my head told me my date did not want to be with me. It was as if he thought he had something else better to do or had another date later on in the evening. My date was not anxious at all, just not "present."
All night long, I gently tried to be very polite to my date. Maybe he was shy like I was as a child. Not talking much more, I introduced him to other friends with thoughtful detail. Politely asking him where he wanted to sit, if he wanted me to bring him a plate from the buffet, if he wanted to dance. Again, nothing. Nada.
Finally, I just sat with him in silence with a pleasant attitude and smile on my face. We silently watched everyone else having a grand time. One half an hour later, at 10:30 p.m., my date asked to take me home. What a bummer. By the time I went home and came back, the dance would be over. I knew so many people here and had paid for my ticket. I wanted to stay, but did not want to be rude. So, my date took me home at 10:30pm.
He kissed me at the door, then said: "Oh, if only I had known you were so interested." Known? Interested? Where had this date's head been all evening? I would have heard from my friends if he had a death in the family, or another trauma in his life. I had been calmly trying all night to be polite and attentive to this out of town date with no response, no reaction at all one way or the other.
So, my wise advice to those out there who go on date after date that sometimes may confound them:

  • Sometimes, you are not the problem. The problem is the other person.

  • If you do not want to go on a date, DON'T.

  • If you do commit to a date (especially a Black Tie event) commit to it and at the very least be pleasant and present.

  • If you absolutely cannot stand or tolerate your date, send yourself home. Be gracious. Say you have a headache and pay for the tickets and/or meal. Make sure your date can get themselves home, then politely excuse yourself.

  • Remember the #1 rule: Always make the other person feel special.

Dating is difficult. Constantly putting yourself out there. Continuously answering those 20 questions over and over again. Starting friendships. Wondering about any potential for romance. Listening to other people's tales of woe. Telling your tales of woe when asked. Trusting other people. Most of all, protecting your own heart and listening to the little voices of reason in your own head.

Keep the faith, be true to yourself, and keep on getting out there!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy American Independence Day!

From my book: Forget-Me-Not, Forget-Me-Never, Remember The Fun We Had Together.
To Carrie:
When sailing down the stream of life,
In your own canoe,
May yours be a happy trip,
And plenty of room for two.
Louise E. Lennon
Friday, December 29, 1905
Happy July 4th to all!!

Friday, June 25, 2010

A Job Is What You Do, NOT Who You Are.

Today at Kinko's, while standing over the self serve copier waiting as my copies copied, my eye wandered over to the book rack. Books all about jobs. How to get jobs, how to get out of jobs, how to deal with unruly co-workers and bosses. After 20 years in Retail management, I was fascinated.

The titles have been altered to protect the innocent, and are listed in bold italics. Then, I've given my best management opinion to save y'all lots of time reading and to save expense.

  • How To Work For A Complete Idiot: Chances are, if you are working for someone you think is a total idiot, you should probably look for another job. How can you ever respect your boss who you think is an idiot? How can they respect you, if you do not respect them? Mutual respect is a 2 way street. The respect vibe floats in the air, yet, is as thick as peanut butter on a sterling silver spoon.

  • Can I Wear My Nose Ring For The Interview? Yes definitely, if you plan to become a Tattoo artist, or an entrepreneur or Studio Artist in the East Village. Probably not if you want to get into Harvard and become an Investment Banker on Wall Street. Also, probably not if you want to work in any kind of Food Service!

  • 9 Clowns Do Not A Circus Make: Well, you can run off and join the circus, if you want to, but they probably better have more than 9 clowns or it will not be much of a success. My husband's brother did run off every summer in High School to join the circus, which is probably why it took him 7 years to graduate from High School. At his graduation, he received a standing ovation! His circus was a success because they had more than 9 clowns.

  • Working With You Is Killing Me: Personally, I have had one job like this and worked under tremendous stress for four years. Sweat, pride in this work I adored doing, and tears. A wonderful loyal staff of 5, moving my boutique store up in sales and rank to #1, and putting up with nasty owners and district managers that knew little about the business or the local climate. They could have cared less about me, and my customers. They only saw the money and wanted more. Even moving my store rank to #1 was not good enough. Always more. Always complaining. Never good enough. Never, never, never. The stress took a serious toll on my health. You just must get transferred to a different department if possible, get a different supervisor if possible, or leave the job. Even if you love the work, and excel at it, get a similar job. Just make sure you have another job to go to and that you have arranged for one week off in between jobs so you may go on vacation, or at the least, have a "stay cation," and rest, sleep, pamper yourself and poke around your humble abode for at least one week. My Sister is a Hospice RN and sees people with Cancer in their forties ALL the time. Stress is a killer, for real.

Jobs are what you do, NOT who you are. Be sure to try and find a job you are content to have most of the time. Jobs, just like family and relationships, are not fun every single day, all day long, all the time, but should be satisfactory to you and for you most of the time. Take care!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Handy Gardening Tips For Hard Working Gardeners

Here are a few summer fun gardening tips for gardeners. Hope they may help your garden grow!

  1. Place tomatoes in the kitchen window. They will ripen faster and warm up the aura of your kitchen. A friend's grandmother once said "Tomatoes, (pronounced "toe-mot-toes"), are worth a half-a-penny more than tomatoes." It's true! :)
  2. Place bitter cucumbers in the kitchen window for 1 day, flip and sun for another day to sweeten them up! Works every time! Promise!!
  3. Soak bitter greens in a sink of cold water and baking soda for 1/2 hour to a full hour to sweeten them up. A drought or simple lack of rain will make greens bitter. Watering with a sprinkler does not even seem to work. A rain dance may work... :D
  4. Wash all greens in a sink of cold water and salt for at least 15 minutes. The salt will get rid of all the dirt and parasites from your garden vegetables and greens. Remember, sinful amounts of salt!
  5. Work on plucking the "suckers" from your tomatoes. Leaving them on will siphon the energy from the plant. In plucking the suckers, you will have larger, more colorful, tastier tomatoes.

These few tips will make your fruit luminous and your greens sweet! Enjoy!!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Rejection - Are You Trying Hard Enough? LOL!

Last night on the way home from Book Club, I stopped by my favorite store, Barnes & Noble, for a cup of coffee and to peruse the new books out for summer reading.
Crowded around one book table were three young women actively looking at one book, consistently turning the pages, giggling, laughing, interacting, and exuding Oohs and Ahas. I was curious. What were they reading that was so involving?
It was a book compiled with nothing else other than copies of rejection letters**. Letters from personal relationships to job interviews to living situations and artistic endeavors. These actual rejection letters were real pieces of peoples' lives, and it got me thinking about rejection.
These people had put themselves out there in life personally, creatively and professionally. They were trying. They were doing. Actively living life, constantly taking chances with their hearts, their creative talents, their ideas, their souls.
My Mother's boyfriend of 35 years always says: "If you do not fail at least three times in your life, you are not trying hard enough." It is true!
We have all heard the story of Alexander Graham Bell. Seventy two rejections before being successful at inventing the light bulb. Have y'all heard the story of Ted Turner? Everyone told him 24 hour Cable news was stupid and would fail because they thought no one would ever be interested in watching 24 hour news. Have y'all heard the story of first time author, Katheryn Stockett? She sent 45 publishers the manuscript for her book: "The Help" before one publisher agreed to publish her now best selling book.
Myself, I was single for twenty years before marrying a great man! Yes, 20 years of 20 questions. Absolutely had to constantly actively participate in meeting and dating men, keeping in mind my state of mind, trying to remain positive and fun along with maintaining integrity and a good sense of self worth. One of my roommates in New York (a model for Elite Agency) every morning, with coffee in hand on the way to the shower would say: "It's not easy," and would laugh out loud.

Laughter is definitely the key, LOL!!

**"Other People's Rejection Letters: Relationship Enders, Career Killers, and 150 Other Letters You'll Be Glad You Didn't Receive." Edited by Bill Shapiro. Clarkson Potter Publishers, New York.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Could Cursing Be The New Cool?

Uncle Jim and I had to have a talk with our 14 year old Nephew about using curse words on Face book a few months ago. He was using the "D-word," and as a gifted student, of course, he wants to go to Harvard. We told him that not only will prospective colleges be looking at his Face book page, but that Harvard students should indeed posses a lovely and creative, varied vocabulary. Not common curse words.
Speaking of Harvard, am I hallucinating, sounding like an old etiquette lady, or did our President use the "A-word" in an interview with Matt Lauer last week, and mouth the f-word in his sentence: "This is a big f-ing dinner," at a White House Correspondents Dinner last month? So sorry Harvard, but this is not higher learning.
At the MTV 2 hour awards show last Sunday night, MSNBC reported the f-bomb was dropped 47 times. Forty-seven. Pardon me? There stood our teenagers' role models, rising singers and up and coming movie stars, up on the awards podium saying: "I love 'so-in-so' so much, I want to f*** her/him." Lower learning for sure.
Dude, did I miss something? Could cursing be the new cool?
Yes, times are a bit tight, and perhaps tough lately. We are more cautious with our money, saving a little more and holding onto our jobs. Yes, agreed. We need to burn off a bit of steam, but when did we become so crass? Yes, we also know that "Jollywood" does not always turn out the brightest or most mannerly talent, but has our society been so "dummed down" that Harvard graduates know no other words save curse words?
I am sure I sound like an old fuddy duddy or mercy me, like my Mother, but maybe we as a country need more Mothering. Maybe we need to remember or have our Mothers remind us of who we should strive to be and how much we can accomplish with a higher learning and a higher purpose.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Summer Travel Tips for Long Distance Travelers

What is the difference in traveling in my car for business for years and now traveling long distance on a plane for pleasure? Not much. The following are a few tips to help the long distance traveler.
  • Whether in a car or on a plane, dress in plain, classic Navy or Black jersey material and layer. Hot cars and hot planes are par for the course. I always wear a matching shell and a Jacket with pants and have a matching skirt packed. Jersey material needs no ironing, is light for packing, comfortable and always appropriate. Bring a pair of white cotton footie's with you on the plane in case it is cold.
  • In your car, bring a small cooler filled with water and some cheese sticks, or raw, unsalted nuts in your car (almonds are my favorite) using those re-usable freezer packs so you do not have to fret about melting ice. This way, you do not have to stop and pay exorbitant prices for drinks and you have healthy snacks.
  • On a plane, bring some crackers for air sickness and unsalted, raw nuts for protein with you. Be sure to purchase water for your plane ride once inside your gate. Very often today, flights cannot be counted on to serve everyone. Hydration is the key to plane travel. Do not drink too much caffeine or alcohol as they increase dehydration.
  • Seated stretching and deep breathing exercises are helpful. On the plane, try to get up and walk around at a minimum every hour. Walk to the restroom to wash your hands, or go to the back of the plane and stand a bit with the stewardesses.
  • Preset your watch. Eat when you are hungry.
  • After a long flight, go outside A.S.A.P. Research suggests sunlight helps reset the natural body clock. Walking outside in natural light does help your body clock too.
  • Jet lag is worse going from west to east. Do not take a nap. Try to stay up until 9:00 or 10:00 pm. A shower or bath will help relax you if you cannot fall asleep.
  • Aerobic exercise can also reduce jet lag. Try to stay in a hotel with a fitness room and schedule some of your time for exercise.
  • Be alert, walk deliberately, dress conservatively, travel lightly, and never announce your name, address and phone number in public. I always hand the desk clerk or concierge my business card with all pertinent information.
  • Do not bring valuable or sentimental jewelry that you will be crying in your soup if you loose, photocopy your passport and bring 2 extra passport photos, use covered luggage tags, book non-stop flights if possible, and take only officially marked taxis.

Plan a Bit and Travel Safely!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Back In The Day Can Be Today...Women Used To Never...

From my book: "Forget-Me-Not, Forget-Me Never, Remember The Fun We Had Together"

Gratitude is the fairest flower that springs from the soul, and no man knoweth any more fragrant.
Catherine Mills
January 29, 1906

Just a quick, fun fact posting today. Did you know women used to never do certain things, rather they had gentlemen do these certain things for them. Ladies, you can still graciously have these things done for you. It's good for the men. It gives them a simple task to perform that makes them feel important!

  • Ladies, DO NOT stand at a bar in a bar, restaurant, nightclub or wedding reception and order your own drink. Ask a gentleman or your date or husband to order a drink for you. Nicely tell them what drink you would like. Thank them graciously. Enjoy!

  • Ladies, DO NOT light your own cigarette (for those few who still smoke). Ask a gentleman, your date or husband for a light. Even, pull our your cigarette, place it in your mouth and fumble for a lighter in your purse, and see what happens! Thank them graciously. Enjoy!

Just a few simple tasks Men can enjoy performing for ladies and it's nice! Simple pleasures in life we all can enjoy!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Single In The City Summer Travel Tips

As a 'Single In The City' gal for 20 years, the following are a few travel tips, for any big city, I learned along the way. Also thrown in are some great tips from my Mother!
  • Dress up, just a bit, when traveling, as some nicer restaurants do not allow jeans on men, shorts or flip-flops. Also, please leave the dirty tennis shoes at home. Basically, just try NOT to look like you are cleaning our your garage. Simple and chic style is always better. Jersey material for women travels well, needs no ironing, wears nicely and is light. No wonder Coco Chanel used this material! Long Khaki pants for men always works, and please men, tuck your shirts IN and wear a belt.

  • If you need the restroom, go into the fanciest hotel you can find and find their public, clean, beautiful restrooms on the first floor. Act like you belong there, as you will already be dressed like you belong!! Have a dollar ready for a tip or a fee. The French West Indies Mall in Marigot, St. Martin, charges $1 US. The Plaza in NYC has attendants. The Mill House in Charleston is free, and they have a bar open all day with fresh ice cream for the children!! You can have a cool drink inside, or out on the patio and you can treat the kids to luxurious, cool ice cream!!

  • Walk deliberately and look straight ahead. Do not lolly-gag and meander around the sidewalk and gaze up at all the buildings. You will appear to be a tourist, therefore, a target. Go to an observatory or restaurant with a view to look at all the buildings.

  • If you ever need to get away from any situation for any reason, duck into an apartment building with a doorman, or any hotel and find the front desk, or restaurant and find the hostess or maitre'd.

  • Always bring along some light reading material; a small paperback book, magazine or daily paper to read on a bus or subway or while waiting in line. This way you can avoid eye contact and conversation with those you do not want to speak with. Cell phones are OK, but people are less likely to interrupt someone reading.

  • Always have a few small bills and some change with you for a bus, parking, subway, pay phone, cab, hot dog, cup of coffee, or a cash tip.

  • Travel with a thin travel wallet/billfold. Only take what you need. Leave at home photos, voter ID, and any other cards you do not need and that will be difficult to replace. Only take one credit or debit card. Write down the 1-800 number needed in case you loose your wallet or it is stolen, and keep it in a separate place.

  • Always travel with jewelry you will NOT be crying in your soup if you loose or it is stolen. Also, always keep your jewelry on your person or in the hotel safe or a room safe. Do not use your phone number or street number or birthday for the safe pass code.

  • Bring a disposable camera instead of your best and only camera, and have fun!

  • Do not be where you are not supposed to be when you are not supposed to be there. As long as you are around people, you are OK. In case of emergency, yell "Fire" instead of "Help." People run towards a fire and away from someone yelling help.

Remember, Friends & Family Are Forever - Happy Memorial Day

From my Book; Forget-Me-Not, Forget-Me-Never, Remember The Fun We Had Together:
In Memory of All of Our Fallen: Soldiers and Sailors Monument,
New York City, 1907